Apprentices playing key role in Birmingham 2022 plans

Published: Thursday, 7th March 2019

Apprentices are at the forefront of Birmingham City Council’s effort to deliver some of the key infrastructure projects that are needed for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Commitments secured by the council through various mechanisms, including the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility, mean that the lead contractor on the residential element of the Commonwealth Games Village will provide:

  • The development of on-site training and engagement facility and a related £1.28million package of training (thanks to funding unlocked by the West Midlands Combined Authority);
  • 1,000 pre-employment training places, giving those involved the skills and industry accreditation to work on construction sites more widely in the city and region;
  • 50 existing apprenticeships working on site via the project’s supply chain;
  • The creation of 400 jobs, including 50 new apprenticeships and 30 paid summer intern (6-week) placements;
  • An overall total of 22,000 person weeks* of training and employment opportunities (for the 2022 Games) against a benchmark for a project of this size of 18,000 person weeks.

Talks are also underway with the contractors leading on the refurbishment of the Alexander Stadium, which will be used for athletics as well as the opening and closing ceremonies at the Games – to create further apprentice-related agreements via their Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility local employment commitment.

Apprenticeships will also be at the heart of the effort to deliver transportation improvements in and around Perry Barr being developed to aid movement during the event and for the wider community’s benefit in years beyond.

More broadly Games Partner organisations are looking at the establishment of regional Commonwealth Games training academy in collaboration with further education colleges to offer people a chance to develop skills and experiences beyond those needed in the construction sector.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I’ve always said the Commonwealth Games are much more than just 11 days of great sporting action. The employment and skills legacy is one of the ways in which the positive impact will spread far beyond athletic endeavour.

“You only need to look at the number of cranes in the sky to see that Birmingham is booming but, the number of apprenticeships in the city have not kept pace with these economic opportunities.

“As a council, we are committed to seeing the number of apprenticeships increase in the whole spectrum of jobs and industries and we are using procurement as a tool to create new apprenticeships through the supply chain and with major employers.

“The Commonwealth Games will improve the lives of individuals who get opportunities to work on the projects supporting the event and the city will benefit long-term from an upskilled workforce so we are ready to deliver on other projects that come our way as a result of the enhanced international profile the Games will give the city and wider West Midlands.”

Over the last decade the council’s Employment Access Team has helped 10,000 people into a wide variety of job starts, graduate placements, work experience and apprenticeships – and the projects needed to deliver the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games look set to further that success story in the years ahead.

Cllr Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, said: “We have a new workforce strategy, which recognises the opportunity for the council to create and influence hundreds of new apprenticeship opportunities across the city.

“Over some time we have developed strong relationships with key partners, and we want to think more creatively about how we work together to create apprenticeships that respond to the needs of a new, flexible, transferable workforce and employer demands.

“Hiring an apprentice is not only ‘a nice thing to do’. It makes great business sense. Time and time again we see and hear about the benefits to the bottom line for companies of apprenticeships. We also know that they bring in new skills, and the opportunity to engage staff early with the company’s ethos and way of working.

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity – for staff and business alike and at the council we will continue to throw our weight behind, and recognise the achievements of apprentices across the city wherever possible.”

The council's celebration of its Commonwealth Games-related apprentices comes during National Apprenticeship Week 2019 (March 4-8). For a full #NAW2019 blog on the council's approach to apprenticeships from Cllr Francis, please click here.


Background notes

Details of the two apprentices featured in the video above are as follows:

Jamie White previously worked as a labourer at a logistics firm and undertook additional driving duties but was on a zero hour contract. He began looking at different employment options in a quest to find more stable income with greater ranging prospects.

Jamie likes outdoor work and became interested in demolition work following discussions with a demolition engineer whom was the father of a friend. Jamie lives in Kidderminster. Jamie started on the Perry Barr contract and has since moved over to work on HS2.  

Josh Grainger is from Wolverhampton who previously worked in retail. Josh started looking for a career change and sought options within construction and the demolition industry after seeing the success enjoyed by his father and brother who both work in the industry.

Josh started October 2018 and was enrolled on to an apprenticeship course at Hemel Hempstead. He is currently working on the former BCU North campus demolition project.


Other information

As part of the council’s Procurement Policy Framework for Jobs and Skills, the local authority looks at identifying opportunities for new entrants which can be as an apprentice, job, graduate, other trainee or work experience placement.

The following can be counted as a new entrant:

  • a person that is leaving an educational establishment (e.g. school, college or university) or a training provider; or
  • an unemployed adult seeking employment that includes on-site training and assessment and/or offsite training, work experience; or
  • a trainee employed by another contractor or supplier to the council whose contract of employment or apprenticeship agreement is being terminated and who is therefore seeking another position to complete their training period.

*One person week is equivalent to one person working for 40 hours per week.

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